Tag Archives: Horror Month

A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984): A Horror Film That Doesn’t Know What Point It Wants to Make

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    We continue “Horror Month” with  “A Nightmare on Elm Street” is not very good. This is a film that has hocky flat acting, doesn’t know the point it wants to make in the premise and fails to fully define the monsters so all the actions the protagonist takes throughout the film end up meaning absolutely nothing. I’m curious if the remake will fair any better as I plan on comparing and contrasting the two after I review it. For the record though, the remake doesn’t have to do much to beat this film.

      The film was directed by Wes Craven who also wrote the film and produced by Robert Shaye.

    The story involves Nancy and her friends be stalked in their dreams by a mysterious clawed man. As each of her friends keep getting killed off Nancy must figure out who is killing them and how stop him before she is killed too.

The Pros: The Premise – The premise of a killer killing people in their dreams is pretty cool. It reminds me of a conceptualized boogy man and just increases the horror as we need sleep to live. Sadly this isn’t explored to it’s fullest degree.

The Idea of Freddy Krueger – Freddy is an interesting baddy it’s just a shame we never get his backstory beyond him being a child killer. He is a fantastic monster but his powers are never fully defined and the reason he keeps living is never defined either when he’s already been killed at least once.

Okay: The Kills – Some of the kills are really creative…from Rod being hung in prison, Tina being pushed against the sealing and Glen being pulled into his bed. Each of them are nightmarish and help establish the horror that is Freddy Krueger.

The Cons: The Acting – The acting is flat and none of the actors have any inflection. For this reason it is hard to get invested in the story and if you do mange to the writer ruins it with the ending.

The Characters  and Writing-The characters are one-dimensional characters in a morality play. Each of them usually gets killed after being sexually active and that is the only depth they get. There is even a hokey line of “I hate morality” form one of the characters…yes someone actually says that. This film is so bad.

The Ending – Nancy the protagonist learns that she can pull Freddy into the real world so sets traps for him and brings him into the real world killing him once with fire and later psychologically realizing that fear is what powers him up. This all gets canceled out in the next scene where Freddy kills her mother (he’s never targeted adults before) and traps all the kids who had died prior and also catches Nancy because I guess they were alive? The films ending cancels out everything it took to beat Freddy and makes it so he’s no longer a believable villain since nothing can stop him if he’s in the real world even after being killed physically and psychologically.

   This is a bad film, you might get some entertainment from the bad acting and writing but if you are looking for a good horror film do not look here. This is a film that doesn’t even know how to follow the rules it establishes for the world it takes place in. I can understand why it’s a classic a little bit because the idea of a dream killer and Freddy Krueger are pretty neat but the execution is so horrible that this film should have never turned into a Franchise.

Final Score: 3 / 10

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The Twilight Zone – Season 3, Episode 24 – “To Serve Man” – A Critique of Colonialism and Idealism

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   We continue “Horror Month” with The Twilight Zone’s, “To Serve Man.” This is a fantastic and powerful episode on the show and so far is the best episode I’ve watched from this series. It has many layers and a depth that I’ll get into further into the review.

    The story was written by Rod Serling and directed by Richard L. Bare.

      The story involves a man being transported on an alien ship as he recounts how he got there when the Kanamits arrived to bring peace to Earth.

The Pros: The Premise – The premise of aliens arriving and bringing peace, with a catch is a fascinating one and one that the show does really well.

The World – The world is really cool as they showed a time during war that the Kanamits were able to take advantage of, so the prosperity and technology they brought would obviously make people sated or want to visit where these strange saviors come from. The Kanamits look humanesque but are just alien enough to for their motivations to remain hidden.

The Reveal – The reveal is that the book the Kanamit leaves behind called “To Serve Man” is actually a cookbook and that they wanted to bring peace to the world in order to breed them as livestock.

Empire and Colonization – The Kanamit’s conquest is powerful and one that makes sense too in regards to history. How many Empires were able to hold power was by bringing “civilization” to other people and than using that as cover to exploit the populace, whether it was for soldiers, taxes, slaves, etc. This episode just shows one of those forms of conquest down to it’s base form.

Comfort and Resistance – When humanity was happy they stopped resisting. In a way the episode reminds us not to ever be satisfied that it is in striving and struggle that we are aware, which fits in regards to evolution and animal survival.

The Cons: Character Development – This is a problem in most episodes of “The Twilight Zone” as the writers at the end of the day are more focused on exploring concepts rather than characters. There are a few exceptions but I didn’t care about the code breaker or his girlfriend because we don’t see them do anything beyond reacting to what the Kanamits do. They don’t have a motivation beyond being props to serve the story.

   Minus the human characters this is actually a great episode and is very High Concept Science Fiction as it explores deeper ideas in a simple premise of aliens coming in peace but really having another agenda. If you are a fan of sci. fi., especially of the classic variety, check this episode out.

Final Score: 9 / 10

Black Mirror – Season 1, Episode 3 – “The Entire History of You” – Of Memories and Obsession

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    I’m kicking off “Horror Month” with “The Entire History of You,” from Black Mirror. This story is amazing! Black Mirror is a series that likes to take ideas related to technology and shine them on humanity revealing our dark underbelly and how technology can strengthen those already bad tendencies. This episode does an amazing job with this!

   The episode was directed by Brian Welsh and written by Jesse Armstrong.

   The story takes place in the near future, where people can now save memories onto a flash device that is in their head and can put memories up on the screen. The story revolves around Liam (Toby Kebbell) and his relationship that is falling apart as his ability to recall memories plays into his already obsessive tendencies.

The Pros: The Premise – The premise is really cool. The ability to save and recall memories is something that could easily come about in the near future and with that there are so many ways it would make humanity worse. This episode really explores that on the small level of a relationship.

The Writing – The writing is awesome! It is all showing rather than telling and the audience is treated like an adult. Jesse Armstrong really wrote a fantastic screenplay. It is one of the less terrifying Black Mirror episodes but it has a great use of tension.

Liam – Toby Kebbell does a fantastic job as an obsessive whose life is falling apart is beautifully done. He is someone who has major issues as he fixates on things and those things consume them to the point where we see a man who doesn’t trust and it destroys his relationship in the process. The final scene is him recalling his memories of his wife before cutting out the chip and destroying all memory of the relationship.

Ffion –  Ffion is Liam’s wife and does a great job as a woman trying to keep her relationship together while dealing with an unstable partner. It is her connection with a past friend she had a fling with that leads Liam to obsessing but we see why she is trying to get out. Her agency and memories are never respected. Liam makes everything about him which leads to her rightfully leaving him.

The Good in Forgetting –  One of the themes is that memory isn’t solid and that is a good thing. The people who are the most well put together in this are the ones who don’t dwell on memories, they live and it allows them to move on. The memories are still a part of them but unlike Liam they don’t obsess over every detail.

The Danger in Obsession – Memory recall is most dangerous in how it can lead into obsession. It is through Liam’s eyes that we see it all take place. He loses his life because he holds on so hard to details tied to his own insecurities that he loses everything anyway. The technology isn’t the problem it is how it can make those who are obsessed worse. Liam already had issues, but having the chance to analyze the past just made him worse. He stopped living in the moment and lost the moment.

Okay: Minor Characters – Liam’s and Ffion’s friends are okay, they don’t really get the full exploration they deserved though.

  This was another great episode of Black Mirror. I can’t wait to review more and will probably review at least one more episode from the show for “Horror Month.” Until then I highly recommend this episode and this show as a whole.

Final Score: 9.6 / 10

Horror Month – October Reviews

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    October is around, which means this month I am going to tackle horror stories! This is going to involve both the watching of the classics I haven’t seen before, such as “Nightmare on Elm Street,” and “Halloween” and also psychological horror stories like those from “Black Mirror” and “The Twilight Zone.”

   I’m open up for any more suggestions as we still have good ways to go until Halloween I just need them to be slasher films of some sort or psychological films and episodes of terror.

   I’m going to be kicking it off with “The Entire History of You,” from “Black Mirror.”